Twin Cities School of Dance is putting on their 40th annual performance of The Nutcracker Ballet.
“I think [The Nutcracker Ballet is] obviously a very popular Christmas tradition,” Twin Cities School of Dance president Jeannie Phillips said. “But for our students, it’s something that they look forward to. It’s a big draw for the school.”
Twin Cities School of Dance is a non-profit dance company based in Bloomington. It was established in 1980 and had performed The Nutcracker Ballet in its entirety every December.
Preparations for The Nutcracker Ballet start in July when they hold auditions for dancers within the ballet company.
Once dancers have their parts, they begin rehearsing for The Nutcracker Ballet during their class times. Then, in September, Twin Cities School of Dance holds auditions for dancers outside of the company.
The cast of The Nutcracker Ballet usually includes around 100 dancers.
Starting the first Saturday of October, dancers begin rehearsing for The Nutcracker Ballet every Saturday. Additionally, dancers with larger parts in The Nutcracker Ballet rehearse every Wednesday.
“We’ve really been working on it since July,” Phillips said. “And [it] seems like we have a long time till we get [to the shows] but every year it’s like it’s already here.”
Phillips explained that the dancers look forward to performing The Nutcracker Ballet.
“When they start in Nutcracker even the little ones, I would say the majority of them can’t wait to do it again next year,” Phillips said. “It’s just a time for them too, they like being on the big stage. They like the audience, they like even the things that they do with other girls in the dressing room, the little gifts they get.”
Many dancers continue to be part of The Nutcracker Ballet each year learning, growing and advancing their dance skills, taking on bigger roles as they improve.
“I’ve seen a lot of them since starting when they were 3 and 4 years old, and then they graduate from high school and they move on,” Phillips said.
“It’s ending to see their progress. We’ve often said that sometimes some of the dancers that start out and they struggled a little bit, and they’re maybe not quite have the musicality and whatever and then all of a sudden, they get to be snow queen. It’s just [cool] to see them grow and come to class and take the instruction and their corrections and take it seriously” Phillips continued.
Last year, the Twin Cities School of Dance added the Nutcracker Family Night to their program.
“Last year, we started a Friday night performance which we had not been doing, and we’re calling it like a family experience,” Phillips said. “It’s not just for our families. It’s for the entire community, any families.”
The Nutcracker Family Night will feature a display of Twin Cities School of Dance’s memorabilia, a Nutcracker walk and individuals will have the opportunity to tour the stage.
“All of the main characters, all of our senior company, are dressed up in their main characters,” Phillips said. “[Attendees] get a group picture. They can get autographs, they can tour backstage so they get to see the drops and all of the props and where the dressing rooms are.”
Twin Cities School of Dance is once again holding Nutcracker Family Night at 4:30 pm Dec. 2 in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center and will be followed by a family-friendly version of the company’s Nutcracker Ballet at 6:30 pm Illinois State University’s Braden Auditorium.
So on Dec. 2, The Twin Cities School of Dance will be performing its family-friendly version of The Nutcracker Ballet in a School Matinee Performance at 10 am
Tickets to the School Matinee Performance are available to schools, home-schooled students or community groups interested in seeing The Nutcracker Ballet.
Twin Cities School of Dance will be performing the full Nutcracker Ballet at 2 pm Dec. 3 and 4 at Braden Auditorium.
Tickets to any of the Twin Cities School of Dance’s performances of The Nutcracker Ballet can be purchased at the Braden Box Office.
EMMA SNYDER is a News and Features Reporter for The Vidette. Snyder can be contacted at [email protected] Follow Snyder on Twitter at @ejsnyder21
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